Mental Health Support Solutions CEO and founder Charles Watkins welcomes the recently published report by the Department for Transport which aims to bring greater understanding of the mental health challenges of seafarers and the impacts of suicide on crew and the difficulties they face in reporting a suicide. It comes in conjunction with the launch of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) new digital Wellbeing at Sea Tool. However Mr Watkins has a few reservations about how it might work.
“Mental health and wellbeing have historically been neglected by the maritime sector, so it is gratifying that employers and governments around the world are starting to take them seriously.
“However, I am concerned that the new tool aims to provide ‘instant and tailored, pragmatic advice’ by directing mariners to Wellbeing at Sea: A pocket guide for Seafarers. I’m not at all sure that a seafarer struggling with mental health issues would be able to find the nuanced advice that is applicable for their own, specific circumstance in a pocket guide which has been designed to provide answers to general problems.
“My fear is that seafarers won’t find the answers they need from this tool and won’t feel able to look further for help, while their employer may feel that they have taken the required steps to look after their team’s mental health and wellbeing so nothing more is needed,” he concluded.
Mr Watkins set up Mental Health Support Solutions to provide a range of support services specifically to the maritime sector. He and his team offer individual psychological consultations for seafarers needing support for themselves or their crew, addressing seafarer’s mental health in a very direct way.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News